Review: lauroshilau – live at Padova

BANDCAMP.

We begin on a magic rim. The cymbals of Yuko Oshima stir with restless potential, peering over the edge; the saxophone of Audrey Lauro leaks like the heavier outbreaths of someone on the verge of waking up; the electronics of Pak Yan Lau dance like the glow of oncoming ambulance lights. The improvisers stay right here, toes over the brink, foretelling a louder fate without ever stepping into it. Each sound like a cryptic detail that emboldens the prophecy, so vivid as to verge on the concrete while remaining within the realms of ethereal promise. Together they coat silence like dry ice, with all the theatrical anticipation that comes with it. This instrument configuration – drums, sax, electronics – feels somewhat primed for charging straight into explosive states, as if a certain alchemical math makes it inevitable. And while lauroshilau do eventually allow themselves to be pulled toward higher volume, they never cease to be mindful of this tension between gravitational obedience and resistance. Each player draws vigilance from the negotiation between these extremes.

Yet the irony is that the noisier moments, the spectre of which hang over the whole of live at Padova, are completely unexpected in form. Drums clunk and crash like buckled machinery gears, saxophone writhes into knots, while the toy pianos and synths arrive as splats of intensity. Occasionally the sudden arousal of one instrument – say, a burst of percussive pummelling – isn’t indulged by the others, with a solitary player stepping forth as the others observe cautiously from the corners, once again resisting the temptation to be dragged into collective blowout. This is improvisation projected from an unblinking, vigorous state of awareness, relentlessly shaking instinct loose from habit. There’s not one moment throughout these 40 minutes when lauroshilau loosen their grip on the moment.